In a country where cricket is a religion, Sachin Tendulkar holds a place akin to the almighty for a hardcore cricket fanatic. Through his years of service to the game, the Little Master, as he is popularly known, has created and broken every record in the game that may have once seemed too distant. For a youngster who has grown up watching the champion batsman tear apart the greatest bowling attacks, the game of cricket is only about Sachin Tendulkar. With Sachin’s retirement, his world will come to an end and the game of cricket will never be the same again. Presented below is one such fictitious diary entry of a Sachin devotee, penned down a day after the master blaster decided to hang-up his boots.
XX Sept 20XX
Twenty-five years have passed, but the memories of that fateful day linger on in my mind, fresh as a daisy on a spring morning. I call it fateful, ‘cause it changed my life forever, as I found out later. I was just 16 and like any other Ind
ian youngster, was extremely interested in cricket. Though it was still early days for my ‘cricket-following’ career, I made it a point to catch each and every match that India played, be it a late night encounter in the West Indies or an early morning clash with Australia.
But, the obsession was nowhere near what it became after Sachin Tendulkar walked out to conquer the world.
The occasion was the first Test between India and Pakistan played at Karachi on 16th November, 1989 when a 16-year old Mumbai lad strolled on the pitch to face a bunch of hostile Pakistan bowlers. Although Sachin could not do much in the series, the character he displayed in unfavourable conditions had forced everyone to take notice.
As far as I am concerned, it was the beginning of a phase that would eventually make cricket a religion and Sachin my God. As he gained from strength to strength, my faith in him also became unshakable.
Distributing sweets whenever the ‘Almighty’ smashed a ton and cutting cakes on his birthday became a part of my life. As the walls in my room became a collage of the master’s choicest photographs, the scrapbooks too started to become bulky with newspaper and magazine clippings.
The insanity became so overpowering at times that an entire day would pass by and I would not even feel the need of eating and would just sit in front of the television with bated breath, praying for the country’s and my idol’s success.
While an innings at Sharjah, where the champion batsman would destroy the Aussies twice in two days with his fierce stroke-making, would lead to an unplanned bash, a career threatening back or tennis elbow trouble would certainly mean a couple of days of fasting and praying.
Yesterday, when Sachin announced his retirement from cricket, it came as a rude shock, infact, it was a numbing piece of news that pierced me. It was like somebody had left me in the middle of nowhere without telling me where to go. I have been a crazy cricket fan for years, but probably just because of the presence of a man called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. The game of cricket holds no meaning for me without his presence. With him gone, maybe I should call it quits as well.
I will miss you…..
(The views expressed by the author are personal)